- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

Humanism excludes God, greater good

The Culture, et cetera feature, "Evolution of a holiday?" (Wednesday, Nation), is correct to associate the Darwinian movement with secular humanism and atheism, both of which deny the supernatural basis of earthly existence. For example, the American Humanist Association's Web site defines humanism as a "progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity." Note that supernaturalism is excluded.
Philosophically speaking, if there is no supernatural, eternal creator who designed the universe and all life within it, then how does one find meaning to life, what criteria defines ethics and what qualifies as the greater good of humanity? Under a humanist system, there is no universal standard by which one may know what is right or wrong. Suicide among the young is high, perhaps because no one told them that there is a God, that He loves them, has a plan for their lives and died on a cross for them.
The American Humanist Association's Web site goes on to say that humanism is a "joyous alternative to religions that believe in a supernatural god and life in a hereafter." Joyous? The implication is that the cold, dark grave is preferable to living eternally with one's Creator. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of the resurrection of Christ and of the dead. In verse 32, it states, "If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" In other words, live for yourself, not for your neighbor, which is the opposite of what God teaches but is, in fact, the reason that humanists and secular evolutionists so passionately embrace this worldview. They prefer to remain dead in their trespasses rather than be accountable to God.

STEVE MCGIBNEY
Woodbridge, Va.'Once in a while, justice prevails'

The jury that served in the trial of dentist Clara Harris, who repeatedly ran down her husband, is worthy of commendation ("Woman guilty in car killing," Nation, Friday). Its members got it just about right by meting out a murder conviction and a sentence of 20 years in prison.
Feeling individuals can agree that Harris was treated abominably by her philandering husband. Thinking individuals can concur that she handled her mistreatment in the worst possible manner, coldly and callously slaughtering her husband, in the presence of his daughter, no less.
Harris surely believes that her sentence is unduly harsh, her attorney having the audacity to plead for probation for the sake of Harris' young twin children. Such chutzpah reminds one of the man who murdered his parents, then pleads for mercy on the basis that he is an orphan.
Anything less than the 20-year term handed down would have sent the wrong message: that individuals who are in hurtful and abusive relationships have the right to take the law into their own hands and kill the former object of their romantic desire. Society cannot allow this.
Harris' path, of course, should have been estrangement from her husband and divorce, not bloody and brutal retribution. She must now be made to pay this hefty price. She should be thankful that she will be able to salvage some of her life when she leaves prison, perhaps as early as in 10 years, when she will be but in her early 50s.
Once in a while, justice prevails.

OREN M. SPIEGLER
Upper Saint Clair, Pa.
Tourette's syndrome reference insulting

I'm writing in regard to the article, "Unsolved sports mysteries" (Sports, Wednesday), in which the reporter describes the inappropriate behavior of some critics of referee calls as "smacking your forehead and screaming like a Tourette's-afflicted loon."
This is truly a tale that requires an explanation. It's insulting to have the name of a disorder used as an epithet. Patrick Hruby appears to have little understanding of Tourette's syndrome, which has nothing to do with being a loon and does not belong in the same sentence. There are even several professional athletes who suffer from this neurological disorder, and they have done very well in their respective sports.
Perhaps the reporter's point of reference is one-time professional basketball player Chris Jackson. He does have noticeable "tics" involuntary movements and vocal outbursts but they have nothing to do with his state of mind. Even though he would not stand for the national anthem, certainly that does not mean he is crazy, only that he is someone who picks the limelight for political protest.
Jim Eisenreich has Tourette's syndrome. Mr. Eisenreich played for the Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Florida Marlins. Maybe the reporter mistakenly perceived Mr. Eisenreich's celebrations after hitting the game-winning home run in the 1993 World Series for the Phillies as absurd outbursts.
Tim Howard was named the Aquafina Goalkeeper of the Year in 2001 and to the MLS Pepsi Best XI squad in 2002. He is considered the top candidate for the U.S. Goal keepers job in the next world cup, and he has Tourette's syndrome. Does the reporter intend to imply someone smacking his forehead and screaming like a "Tim Howard" loon?
Joe Theisman has sponsored two celebrity golf tournaments to support the Tourette Syndrome Association. He does not suffer from Tourette's nor does any of his children have the disorder, yet he took time out to help. These people who suffer from a condition the reporter uses as an insult are the same ones whom Mr. Theisman works with to host fund-raisers.
Maybe the reporter's colorful lexicon correctly connotes that this disorder should be used as a slur and perhaps it should be associated with being unacceptable, or maybe its only one of his bizarre tales that defies explanation.

JIM MERKLINGER
Managing attorney
American Corporate Counsel Association
Washington
Water rights know no nationality

The implication that our campaign against water privatization stems from xenophobia, as reported in the AP wire story "Foreign firms pour in" (Business, Thursday), is unfounded and plain wrong.
Public Citizen maintains that water systems must be kept in the public trust, under local control, and not used as a commodity from which to profit. With the current trend of marrying water and profits, multinational companies serve their shareholders first, their customers second. We oppose corporate control triumphing over consumers' rights. Whether corporate headquarters are in New York City or Munich, accountability to community concerns is weakened when public, municipal ownership is lost. We opposed American Water Works' attempts to gouge consumers long before it was bought out by German-owned RWE.
Case in point, Atlanta just ousted United Water, a subsidiary of French-owned Suez, due to the myriad of troubles the private company caused city residents. We supported the city's decision because United Water failed to perform maintenance, billed the city for work it didn't do, ignored customers' cries for service, cut staff to dangerously low levels and occasionally delivered filthy, brown water. United Water's multinational parent was to blame in part not because it was French, but because it failed to treat water as a human right.

JULIETTE BECK
Senior organizer
Public Citizen's Water for All Campaign
Oakland, Calif.

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